The peninsula unit is a great tool for creating a U-shaped kitchen within a larger space. This smart modern design features conventional units along one wall and one window and a peninsula that continues the run of storage and worktop space without the need for a third wall. Keeping the space open along one side like this is a great solution for open-plan areas where you want to define a kitchen without screening it from view. all-white space has the look of a U-shaped kitchen, while incorporating a walk-through in front of the high level units along the back wall. In essence this design consists of two islands and one wall of floor-to-ceiling units. By choosing white for cabinetry, ceilings, walls and floor the boundaries between surfaces blur, giving the impression of a compact U-shaped design that gradually opens up as you move around.
For a show-stopping centrepiece look to luxury materials, from deeply veined marble and mottled granites to exotic timber veneers and gleaming mirrored glass or burnished metal. There's a trend towards more textured materials, think raw or rough-sawn wood, honed or flamed stone tops, as well as a contrast of colour or finish between the island and the rest of the kitchen. And don't forget kitchen island lighting – it can turn a good-looking unit into a showstopper of a kitchen centrepiece. Want more design inspiration? Take a look at these showstopping kitchen ideas and our pick of the best kitchen storage ideas Almost all kitchen islands incorporate seating – even the smallest space can usually accommodate an overhang of worktop and a pair of bar stools, although more of us are opting for long kitchen islands with integrated low-level, table-style seating at one end.
Be inspired, how you want your kitchen to look is, of course, a very personal choice. It really helps to collect images and magazine tear sheets and put together a scrapbook or mood board. Also, make a note of surfaces, materials or accessories you've seen that work well together. Even something as simple as a pretty plate, tile, piece of furniture or scrap of fabric can be a great starting point for choosing a theme or colours. Don't worry too much about cost at this point, just focus on things that inspire you, and soon you'll be able to identify styles you are drawn to. Consult a kitchen designer. To get the absolute maximum from your space, input from a professional kitchen designer can prove invaluable. Their experience and expertise will offer you plenty of simple ideas – as well as innovative ones – that you might not have even considered.
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